In the second of our Top Ten Scottish Football moments of 2012, Celtic fan Henry Clarson gives us his top ten moments with his top choice being the recent Champions League victory over Barcelona and being a Celtic fan, he just can’t help revel in Rangers’ demise.
1. Celtic 2 Barcelona 1
The night that the greatest club in the world graced the hallowed turf of Celtic Park in front of a full house in the world’s most prestigious club competition and set about handing Barcelona a 2-1 defeat was just the latest in a long, long line of magical, memorable Celtic performances over the course of 125 years of the club’s history. It was a particularly sweet moment for Neil Lennon, though, and even some of the Scottish mainstream sportswriters were compelled to grudgingly concede, through gritted teeth, that the Celtic manager had proved himself at the highest level against the very best.
Football pundits and reporters from the rest of the world (as well as many of the better bloggers) freely and generously bestowed congratulations, praise and admiration upon Neil for his perfect tactical plan and astute, game-changing substitutions. It should be clearly stated here that, for once, he truly brought it on himself. All of it.
It was also a vindication for the board of directors whose sensible, prudent management of Celtic’s finances may never thrill a capacity crowd at Paradise nor inspire passionate choruses of adulation but it remains nonetheless the foundation of every success the club achieves. Some sections of the Celtic fan-base consistently demand that the club overspends. It hasn’t always been easy to convince such people that there is no sense in spending money that you don’t have or to borrow recklessly with no regard for tomorrow.
Which brings us neatly to…
2. Rangers (est 1872) Liquidated.
And not one second too soon. The humiliation and annihilation of a shameful, thoroughly rotten, irredeemably corrupt, horribly nasty football club was joyously celebrated by supporters of every other team in the country and for good reason. Never has the death of a football club been so universally welcomed nor so richly deserved. The day had dawned which every decent football supporter had fantasised about at one time or another although, a few years ago, very few honestly thought that they would ever live to see it.
3. Celtic 3 Rangers (est 1872) 0
Celtic took advantage of their last chance to hand their disgraced and discredited rivals one final thrashing before the so-called Old Firm series finally terminated forever. With Celtic racing towards the championship and Rangers plummeting into the abyss of oblivion, there was no mercy either from the Hoops support who revelled in the opportunity to rub salt in the gaping wounds of the mourners in the visitors section. On the filed, the series finished as it had begun with a three goal margin of victory for the Celts. It’s somewhat amusing to note that the first ever meeting of the clubs had been a ‘friendly’; there was nothing remotely friendly about the last ever encounter! The fixture’s consignment to the scrapheap of history is more than welcome.
4. First Highland Derby in Scotland’s Top Division
The first ever SPL match between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County on Friday, the 5th of October was televised live across the UK and confirmed that well-run football clubs can rise to the highest echelon of the Scottish game while paying their own way and adhering to a sensible, community-based financing model. As recently as 1995, Ross County were plying their trade in the Highland League and so were Inverness Thistle and Inverness Caledonian, the fore-runners of ICT. Not enough attention is paid nor credit given to each of these clubs for the steady, sustainable progress which each has achieved in such a short space of time. They richly deserve their place among the country’s elite professional clubs and it was a pleasure to watch them renew their healthy rivalry in the top flight.
5. Edinburgh Derby – Scottish Cup Final
In the end, it wasn’t much of a match but the build-up to the occasion was refreshing. A Hibs-Hearts Cup final is rarer than a sighting of Halley’s Comet yet it is one of the oldest derby rivalries between top-class teams anywhere in the world, going all the way back to the 1870s. Just as the appearance of Halley’s Comet can be confidently foretold with precise accuracy, so too can a total collapse by Hibernian in a Cup Final be predicted with near certainty and so it proved once again, unfortunately. Still, it was interesting to have a glimpse into what had previously been thought was an event that could only occur in a bizarre, parallel universe – a full National Stadium hosting a showcase final between the two major Edinburgh clubs. That alone is enough to make it a memorable highlight of the year.
6. Rangers (est 1872) enter Administration
When a particle collides with an equally massive particle of anti-matter, the consequence is complete annihilation and a huge release of energy.
Similarly, when the fanatical anti-reality of Rangers was finally forced to encounter reality, the predictable result was the utter annihilation of Rangers. All that now remains is some residual energy.
There was always much more truth in the world than could ever be annihilated by David Murray, Media House and their wretched, unprincipled gang of toadies and lickspittles in the mainstream media conduits.
At long last, the lies began to unravel when a court order plunged Rangers into formal Administration.
The unchallengeable truth finally began to emerge and even the press and broadcasters couldn’t hold it back.
The denialists were thrown onto the back-foot and desperately tried to attach the blame to anywhere other than where it belonged.
Their troubles were only just beginning.
7. USA 5 Scotland 1
The national side showed how far they have progressed through the visionary leadership of the SFA when a record crowd for a soccerball contest in Jacksonville, FL, watched the impressive Scots stun their hosts by benefiting from a magnificent own goal which momentarily interrupted the incessant stream of American goals at the other end. Rumour has it that mighty Wales, after watching this match, began to doubt their chances of notching up a new record score against their Caledonian rivals and settled instead for giving Scotland a goal of a start and then brushing them aside.
Fortunately for supporters of the national side, the SFA is presided over by one of the game’s great administrators, the vastly experienced and not-remotely-conflicted Campbell Ogilvie. It could scarcely be in better hands.
8. Kilmarnock 1 Celtic 0 – League Cup Final
Notwithstanding some typically Scottish refereeing anomalies, Kilmarnock earned their first piece of silverware by performing to the best of their abilities when it mattered while their opponents singularly failed to do so. Their success also ensured that by the time the Scottish Cup semi-finals had concluded, it was guaranteed that the three major trophies would belong to three different clubs at the end of the season.
So much for Scottish football’s Armageddon.
9. Glasgow Derby – Ramsden Cup 2nd Round
A stoater of a cup tie between Queen’s Park and Spartak Thistle at Hampden Park. The lead changed almost as often as the name on the title deeds at Ibrox. It was a magnificent example of the kind of gloriously daft, harum-scarum football watched by hundreds of paying supporters which is the Partick Thistle hallmark. It was thoroughly entertaining fare, right up to the very last twist in the typically ludicrous Jags plot-line. All the more so because it was played out in the slightly surreal environment of the vast National Stadium, almost as if it was a proper football match.
Well okay, it was a proper football match of sorts. It’s just not football as we have come to recognise it. But it was damn good value for money and a timely reminder that providing an exciting, entertaining match is not the monopoly of any club or competition.
10. Stirling Albion 1 The Rangers (est. 2012) 0
There was yet another hilarious postscript to the debacle at Ibrox when a pathetic tribute act, styled after the now-defunct Rangers, perished miserably at the hands of a team ranked at the bottom of the lowest tier of the senior pyramid. Mighty Stirling Albion, a team who take their football so seriously that their manager even took the day off to get married, introduced the dismayed, Sevconian flat-earthers and denialists to a previously unplumbed level of despair and abject humiliation by showing up Charles Green’s fakes and imposters for what they really are; third-rate impressionists deluding themselves into believing that they’re big shots.
They’re not. They’re the bait for Charles Green’s pension scheme.
“We Are The People,” bellow the Sevconians in stubborn defiance. Then. Now. Forever. No Surrender,” they bawl. Sadly, they’re fooling nobody other than themselves.
They might as well be Camilla Parker-Bowles, alias Mrs. Windsor, future Queen of England, posing in a swimsuit on a St. Tropez beach and expecting to be mistaken for Diana. Mrs. Parker-Bowles-Windsor may have acquired a few valuable assets and titles while over-burdening the long-suffering tax-payers of this country. But even the brazen Royal Family know that there’s a limit to how far they can push their luck. Sevconians don’t.
It was a very good year.